Special Effects!

In the incredible world of professional makeup artistry there is an abbreviation for those who create special effects; SFX. The geniuses that make up the SFX teams on major blockbuster motion pictures are extremely gifted individuals who love to transform others into monsters, wizards, vampires or victims of brutal force!

They study, perfect their artistry and capture our attention by creating creatures we either totally hate or can’t help but fall in love with! The magic created by SFX teams is meant to transport a viewer into another world (Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Star Trek), bring fantasy to reality (Twilight, Pirates of the Caribbean, Terminator) or entice our worst fears (Saw, The Exorcist, Friday the 13th).

This Pro had the pleasure of apprenticing for the first 3 years of my makeup career for one of the greatest special effects artists of our time; Mr. Stan Winston, who left us too early last summer. He was a gentleman, a lover of the bizarre and his talent was masterful.

Today, there are many SFX artists that rule the galaxy and if you were at the recent IMATS Convention put on by Makeup Artist Magazine, you may have had the pleasure of meeting a few of them, such as; Dick Smith, Ve Neill or Barney Burman. Other legends include; Rick Baker and Tom Savini. These experts are people I admire and wait with baited breath for their next movies to be released!

But did you know that there are products available to the consumer that can transform average makeup into magical potions, concoctions that create illusions and elixirs, which you can apply daily, that will take your gorgeous face and body to the next level?

This Pro is not referring to blood, injuries or fake body parts that you would rock during Halloween, I am referencing products that can turn powder shadow into waterproof eye liner, tattoo ink that can last for a week or highlighters that can cover massive rosacea and other skin imperfections!

I am talking about lip gloss that can change the color of lipstick or change the average lipstick into a long-wearing color requiring little touch up! Serum that can enhance your breast size (um, can I get that in a gallon size tub please?)! Eye drops that make the whites of your eyes so pure, oil that makes your hair shine for days and treatments that can help your nails grow quickly!

These mystical gifts are “special” and if you need to know what ingredients are used in each of them, then please feel free to do the research. This Pro doesn’t really care too much (unless my client is allergic) about what is on the “inside!” I care more about what happens on the “outside” and I know first hand that these specialty products add some fun and creativity into the mundane!

So, are you ready? Then fasten your seatbelts – here is a list of products that this Pros use to create some amazing special effects…


Chromacake – a solid water-color pigment activated with water. This product is highly pigmented and it dries to a matte finish making it excellent for body makeup, tattoo color filler or fantasy makeup on eyes, cheeks and lips!

Mixing Mediums – gel, lash and eye liner – mixing mediums allow you to create your own personalized colors of mascara, eye liner or custom body pigments when mixed with glitters or powder shadows and blush colors. You should not use the gel medium around the eye – lash and eye liner mediums are formulated specifically for that area.

Brow Gel & Finisher – Adds shine, style and grooming to brows. Available in several shades or clear. Can be used on lashes, sideburns, beards or to fill in thinning hair areas. Also, Brow Finisher is a wax-style product used for shaping and holding the brows in place. Create a very polished and slick brow look.


Lip Tar – this incredible innovation in lip color combines the longevity of a lipstick with the ease of application of a gloss. Goes on slick and dries to a satin finish. Very highly pigmented so a little goes a very long way. Use colors like white and black to mix with traditional lipstick and create your own customized lip color. Clear Lip Tar can by used with loose color or pigment. 100% vegan and cruelty-free. This products acts as a stain for long lasting wear.


Glitters – professional makeup artist use this product during fashion shows to add a touch of glamour! This glitter is very finely milled and creates a sparkling veil over the face, body and hair. It's like fairy dust in a jar!

Body Tan – is a non-greasy colored gel that gives the illusion of tanned skin with a radiant bronzed look. Can be used alone or under makeup. Very soft, dries quickly and is water-resistant for long-lasting hold. Make sure gel is completely dry before putting on clothes. Not a self-tanner.

Metal Powder – loose powder in a gold-bronze or silver shade that will give the skin a metallic sheen. Can create a “statue” effect and they are ideal for covering large areas of the skin. Can be applied with a brush or sponge. Use a setting spray to hold.

Nude False Lashes – in a variety of styles, sizes and lengths, these false lashes intensify your eyes and add depth. Pale or light brown in shade, use these lashes for daily wear or to naturally add drama to the eye day or night.


Midnight Cowboy – shimmer body lotion is a veil of gold dust that will leave your skin looking hydrated and radiant. Contains a natural blend of Aloe, Chamomile, Avocado and Jojoba Oils with Vitamin E and Green Tea Extract. Light scent won’t clash with fragrances.


Tattoo Transfers - best known in the industry as the secret for realistic temporary tattoos. Printed with high quality black cosmetic ink, they are designed to last any where from 2 to 5 days. These tattoos easily transfer to skin using 70% isopropyl alcohol and can be removed with alcohol or baby oil. Made to be durable and smudgeproof, you can fill them in with color using Temptu Dura Ink or airbrush color.

Dura Ink - these inks are formulated to be used with an airbrush, paintbrush or sponge. Extremely pigmented and very long-lasting. Covers evenly and comes in a wide variety of colors, shimmers and blacklight colors. This product was used to create the character of Mystique in the X-Men films.

Pro Touchup Paint – this product is the perfect color match to fill in, thicken up or accent a Temptu Tattoo Transfer. If you want the look of authenticity, but are afraid of getting a permanent tattoo, this product is a realistic alternative when used in conjunction with tattoo transfers. Will dry lighter or darker depending on deepness of skintone.

Dura Pro Palette – choose Skinlight or Skindark and use to cover tattoos or unwanted discolorations like rosacea quickly and easily. Activated by using 99% isopropyl alcohol this product was made to withstand the most extreme conditions (even a Bridezilla insisting that you cover your sleeved arm before the wedding)!


Anti-Shine – got oil? This product used sparingly with fingers or sponge will mattify the skin and is a quick drying, tinted gel formula. Controls oil and shine all day and regulates oil production. Ideal for face, scalps and bald heads. Recommended for use alone or under makeup.


Makeup Finishing Spray – it is impossible for this Pro to shoot a movie or television project without this product. Apply over makeup for flawless set, hold and blending. Extends the wear of makeup for hours and prevents the need for multiple touchups. Resists heat and humidity. Great for use in summer or everyday to control makeup from fading.


Huile de palme – used for detangling, softening and to protect hair from the sun, seawater and chlorinated pool water. Should be used prior to shampoo. This formula uses botanical oils that nourish the hair. Used at night or should be left on for 10 minutes then shampooed out. Perfect solution for damaged hair.


Nail Regenerator Serum – if you wear acrylic nails, nail polish or use cleaning products without protecting your hands then you must purchase this product! This serum nourishes, hydrates and restructures fragile and lifeless nails and stimulates growth. Softens cuticles and heals damaged matrices. Made from 100% natural plant oils this is a natural 28-day treatment.

Bust Serum – this product will give your breasts volume, lift and firmness in as little as 6 weeks. Made of mukul bark extract, this bust serum targets stored triglycerides, thereby increasing volume. This Pro has just started to use this product (3 days) and is hoping to see improvement in firmness!


Brow Ware – this product provides hold to thinner eyebrows without the crunchy, flaking off residue. Use after eye brow grooming and filling in with brow pencil or shadow. Great for both women and men! Good bang for your buck!

Hi-Light Shadow – Hi-Lites make your eyebrows look sharper, more defined and brings attention to your eyebrows. Plus, these Hi-Lites work

great to mask growing in brows (or stragglers) until that next grooming appointment and can bring an instant lift effect to the eye area!

Big Time Nite Brow Shadow – I like the way Elke thinks! She says, “who says eyebrows can’t look amazing at night?” And she is a smart cookie for inventing gorgeous shadows that play up your brows and add just the right amout of shimmer/sparkle without being over the top. Can be used wet for a very dramatic look!


Diamond Perfect Finish – this is my secret weapon! Made with real diamonds, this product will give your skin an airbrushed appearance. This powder is finely milled and is made to settle into the fine lines and pores translucently in order to decrease the appearance of wrinkles by bouncing the light off your skin! Now, don’t get me wrong…you won’t shine like Lucy in the Sky with streams of light pouring out of your face! It is a subtle refraction of light! Each full-sized product contains nearly a full carat of diamond – the ultimate luxury for your skin!


Eye Drops – created to remove the yellow in the whites of the eye, this product is tinted blue which makes the eyes appear cleaner, clearer and more youthful. Put a drop in each eye and wait 15 minutes. Avoid using these drops when wearing a soft contact lense as the blue will tint the lens.


Illuminator - want to create a porcelain doll, noir or fantasy look? Then embrace your inner dark side with this intense color that highlights and enhances any area you apply it! Goes on wet, but dries quickly leaving a high-shine, reflective finish that will last all night! Can be used on cheeks, brows or other parts of the body. Comes in a variety of shades.

You don’t have to be a major special effects artist to be influenced by the products listed above. Embrace your creative side and get inspired to try these alternative products and add some pizzazz to your everyday routine!


Use a neutral eye pencil like Julie Hewett’s Omit or Paula Dorf’s Baby Eyes to line the lower water line instead of using a traditional white pencil. You can also try Origins’ Eye Brightening Color Stick in IceBlue. This technique is used by professional makeup artists to create the illusion of brighter eyes and can be used in place of eye drops.


Up next on IMPO – makeup bags, palettes and train cases oh my!!! Ever wonder what professional makeup artists use to haul around loads of beauty products from shoot to shoot? IMPO will review some of the very best storage solutions and containers for your cosmetics!

*above photos courtesy: Make Up For Ever, Ve Neill, Stan Winston, America's Next Top Model, Illamasqua

No comments:

Post a Comment